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Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Claims Israeli Firm Black Cube Was Hired to Hack African Election

Christopher Wylie claims the controversial company engaged the services of Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube and that his predecessor was likely poisoned in Kenya

In this April 4, 2013 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie said on Tuesday to British MPs that "the company utilized the services of an Israeli private intelligence firm, Black Cube."

Black Cube, which was also implicated in the Harvey Weinstein scandal, was apparently hired to hack the personal data of Nigerian President Buhari prior to his election to get access to his medical records and private emails, reported multiple sources on Wylie's testimony. He also testified that that his predecessor at Cambridge Analytica died mysteriously in a Kenyan hotel room – and may have been poisoned after a deal went "sour."

Black Cube denied Wylie's claims, saying, "Black Cube has always operated within the boundaries of the law in every jurisdiction it operates, following legal advice from the world’s leading law firms. Whilst we are flattered that we are seemingly being connected with every international incident that occurs, we will state that Chris Wylie’s testimony is a flagrant lie.

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie gives evidence to MPs

"We categorically declare that neither Black Cube, nor any of its affiliates and subsidiaries, have ever worked for, or engaged with, SCL, Cambridge Analytica, or any of their affiliates and subsidiaries."

The firm also denied operating in Nigeria, writing that it has never "worked on any project connected to Nigeria, and none of its employees have ever set foot in Nigeria."

Black Cube said it would "investigate this claim on a pro bono basis, and will reveal the truth and the motive behind Wylie's defamatory lie. Additionally, we will file a massive defamation claim against any entity whom we find has defamed Black Cube, including Christopher Wylie, SCL, and Cambridge Analytica, and pursue them for every penny."

AggregateIQ

Wylie also said that the Canadian company AggregateIQ worked on software called Ripon, which was used to identify Republican voters ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

AggregateIQ did not immediately respond to request for comment on the remarks by Wylie.

Wylie has previously disclosed how users' data from Facebook was used by Cambridge Analytica to help elect U.S. President Donald Trump.

Ripon, the town in which the Republican Party was founded in 1854, was the name given to a tool that allowed a campaign to manage its voter database, target specific voters, conduct canvassing, manage fundraising and carry out surveys.

"There's now tangible proof in the public domain that AIQ actually built Ripon, which is the software that utilized the algorithms from the Facebook data," Wylie told the British Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

AggregateIQ told Reuters on March 24 that it had never been and is not a part of Cambridge Analytica nor ever entered into a contract with it.

It said it works in full compliance within all legal and regulatory requirements and had never knowingly been involved in any illegal activity.

Cambridge Analytica said on Tuesday that it had not shared any of the Facebook profile data procured by a Cambridge academic with AggregateIQ. It said it had not had any communication with AggregateIQ since December 2015.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg will not answer questions from British lawmakers over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, The Telegraph newspaper and the BBC reported. 

During Monday’s session low on the U.S. stock market, Facebook had lost $100 billion in market value since March 17, when newspapers first reported that Facebook member data was improperly used by consultants Cambridge Analytica to target U.S. and British voters in close-run elections.